A timeless image, Marsa Matrouh is an exceptional representation of the untouched Mediterranean coast of the 1950s, immortalised in the black and white films of the era, here brought to life in exquisite colour by Mahmoud Said.
Mahmoud Said's glorious painting of Marsa Matrouh is yet another celebration of his native Egypt. His love for the Egyptian people is evident throughout his oeuvre, from the manner with which he paints scenes of local life and colour, the whirling dervishes, the Nile's people at work along her banks and the portraits he painted of his family and servants. But it is particularly apparent in his paintings of Alexandria, these more so than any other are infused with a remarkable affection. The peasant riding on a donkey, Said's ubiquitous Alexandrian women, their heads held high, their skin gleaming in the sunlight, the skyline of Alexandria more often than not framed in the background. All of these are a homage to his home-town, his people and his country.
Marsa Matrouh is a rare depiction of another inspirational place for Said. Matrouh is a place of natural beauty that stirred his artist's soul, regarded as a haven for the romantics, with its white sandy beaches, crystal blue waters and lush palm trees, the sight dates back to the time of the Pharaohs and Alexander the Great. It is rich in history with an enchanting air romanticized in the glamorous black and white Egyptian films of the forties and fifties.
Marsa Matrouh, a popular destination for Cairenes and Alexandrians during the summer months, is captured here by Said's vivid palette and luminous canvas. The painting evokes not just the reality of the place, but also the artist's impression of the play of light on water, the quality of the air and the shimmering sand. It is an excellent example of Said's distinctive grasp of light and colour, and is a jewel of a work.
This painting is important not just for its singular representation of Said's grasp of light and his palette, but also as a glimpse into the artist's own personal haven and for its documentary nature, presenting historical and pictorial evidence of the sea-side city before the development of the Egyptian coastline.
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